The big winners and spinners in Yeongam on Friday were Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen. Hamilton fired the first warning shot of the weekend by pipping Sebastian Vettel by just three-hundredths of a second, while Raikkonen had an early shower after a meeting with the wall at the final corner of the Korean International Circuit.
With Typhoon Fitow taking the morning off due to a lack of interest, FP1 was greeted by blue skies and a cool northerly breeze… About the only cool thing coming from the North of late. The only initial havoc on track was perpetrated by Rodolfo Gonzalez, who whilst subbing for Jules Bianchi, took the nose of the newly-signed Frenchman’s Marussia at turn thirteen. It was a glancing blow however, that shouldn’t take too much time for Marussia to repair before the next session.
The accident happened when Sebastian Vettel was the only other car on track, but the three-time World Champion managed to pick his ay through the debris and out of trouble. Lewis Hamilton meanwhile was in no hurry to get out on track – taking copius self-portraits for the Twitter hordes in waiting.
James Calado was the other third driver substituting this time for Paul di Resta and was looking to build upon his solid Friday practice runs since Monza. The Brit ran as high as sixth behind the Williams of Bottas during early running. Track temperatures at this stage of the weekend appeared to be good enough for a three lap run, although a relatively large gap in lap time was expected between the two Pirelli compounds selected for this weekend.
Ricciardo and Perez were consistently popping up into the top five whilst the front-runners were sorting themselves out. One man getting mixed messages was Felipe Massa, who was informed of possible puncture before realising a slight drop in pressure was the reason for the false data reading.
Nico Hulkenberg too was feeling a littl deflated, but merely down to his ride-height being set too low. His Sauber visibly unsettled over the bumps which affected his braking and resulted in a flatspot.
Jean-Eric Vergne impressed at the one hour mark by slotting into third, directly behind Rosberg and Alonso who were battling for early weekend honours.
However, Hamilton, Vettel and Webber soon decided it was time to crash the party in Yeongham. After an early spin without any casualties, Lewis topped the order with Vettel just three-hundredths of a second behind the Mercedes driver. Webber rounded out the three (the only other driver in the 39 second bracket) before Kimi Raikkonen got completely crossed up through the tricky final corner and extensively damaging his Lotus in the process. The Finn walked away seemingly unharmed, but hardly the ointment need for both car and man given his recent back woes in Singapore.
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